T.J. Dillashaw only had Cody Garbrandt in mind and says his previous challenge to Demetrious Johnson was just his second option.
Cody Garbrandt’s back injury in May had led T.J. Dillashaw to challenge reigning flyweight champion and top pound-for-pound fighter Demetrious Johnson for the 125-pound title. “Mighty Mouse”, however, declined Dillashaw’s call-out, and will instead face Ray Borg as originally planned, at UFC 215 on September 9th in Edmonton.
Dillashaw, meanwhile, has reverted his attention back to Garbrandt and their overdue title fight. Speaking to MMA Junkie, the former 135-pound champion says this was the fight that he wanted all along, and that Johnson was just his backup plan.
“This is the fight I ultimately wanted,” Dillashaw said, referring to his fight with Garbrandt. “That was kind of like going for a consolation prize. If I couldn’t get my belt at (135), I want a belt. And I felt like it was a big, hyped-up fight I could’ve pushed with Demetrious. Unfortunately, he did not want that. Unfortunately, he’s too cerebral of a fighter.”
“He knows that’s not a good fight for him and wouldn’t accept it,” Dillashaw continued. “He’s real worried about this record he needs to break. Go ahead and let him do that, I guess.”
As of this moment, Garbrandt and Dillashaw are set to square off as the co-main event feature at UFC 217 on November 4th in New York City. From his end, Dillashaw is just hoping that this fight finally happens.
“Fingers crossed nothing happens. I’m ready tomorrow, man,” Dillashaw said. “I’ve been staying in the gym. That’s what I love to do. I feel lazy when I’m not in the gym. So, yeah, I’m ready to go at 217. And just the fact to be able to fight in Madison Square Garden seems like a huge event.”
UFC 217 will be headlined by the middleweight title fight between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre.